In a year that has seen the largest protests for racial justice in recent memory, it is important that our attention focuses on the narratives of the victims of these violent crimes.
No call to action speaks more to this grave issue than that of #bluelivesmatter.
The oppression of Blue people does not stop on the streets, where they are regularly profiled and targeted with acts of violence that too often are committed with impunity. Blue people are forced to sit by as they are portrayed in racist and dehumanizing ways in our sports culture and media, and are criticized for being “politically correct” or “too serious” when offended by these images.
One of our nation’s most successful basketball programs, Duke University, proudly touts a mascot called the “Blue Devils.” This horrifically racist caricature depicts a Blue person with a demonizing pointed chin and horns, resembling the devil himself.
Blue people are often told that the “Blue Devil” mascot is actually “honoring their heritage” and is a sign of respect for their warrior culture. Despite these false pleas of cultural respect, Blue people’s calls to remove these racist mascots from our sports culture often go ignored.
Television is a common area for racist anti-Blue imagery as well. This past year, the second movie in the dehumanizing Smurfs franchise hit theaters nationwide. In this world, Blue people’s culture is depicted as backwards and uncivilized, where Blue people live in the forest in homes made from trees and mushrooms. Such imagery, while seemingly innocent at first glance, produces a form of consent in non-Blue people that dehumanizes and solidifies the notion of Blue people belonging to a primitive culture.
Even the widely successful science-fiction franchise Star Trek is not exempt from racist portrayals of Blue people. The evil, conniving Blue race, Andorians, often play the roles of villains in storylines contrasted with benevolent, non-Blue races. The series even contains a blue alcoholic substance in their name, “Andorian ale,” furthering the damaging stereotype of Blue people as substance abusers living drug ridden neighborhoods.
The movement to promote awareness of the struggles and daily indignities faced by Blue people is part of a long tradition of racial justice in our country and will likely face many obstacles along its path. It is difficult for non-Blue people, who are rarely, if ever, subjugated to the same daily indignities to understand the lived experiences of Blue people. This demonstrates why it is all the more important to stand in solidarity with our Blue neighbors, listen to their stories, and support their movement in a constructive manner.
The members of our nation’s law enforcement that notoriously discriminates against Blue people always retain the option to remove their uniforms, thereby reducing their exposure to uncomfortable situations whenever they please. Blue people, however, have no choice but to live in a society where their Blueness is an inherently threatening characteristic of their person. All of this, because they are Blue. #bluelivesmatter